What are some of the rights that were given to women specifically with the coming of Islam?
Before the advent of Islam, women did not have any status or rights in society. They were considered second-class citizens. For example, some tribes in Arabia at the time went so far as to bury newborn girls alive, as they were considered a liability and not a blessing for the family. However, it is with the advent of Islam that the status of women was elevated and their importance in society emphasized. Islam awarded women their basic human rights in a society that did not consider them human, and also gave them social and economic rights that no religion had ever given women before.
The Holy Qur’an teaches that women are to be treated with respect, kindness, and love and it especially gives mothers a high status in Islam. Women have the right to education and they enjoy all of the spiritual rights that men have. The greatest right given to Muslim women is economic independence. At the time of marriage, a husband must give his wife a dower, and he has no rights over this money once she receives it. Any property that a woman acquires of her own effort, or that she inherits or receives as a gift, is exclusively hers. No one has a right to a woman’s property, not even her husband. A husband does not even have the right to interfere in his wife’s management or administration of her property. In fact, a woman does not have to contribute anything to the upkeep of her household; that responsibility is solely of the husband’s, even if the wife is in financially better circumstances than the husband.